Atheism vs Theism in Eragon

Download Atheism vs Theism in Eragon

Post on 14-Apr-2018




0 download

Embed Size (px)


<ul><li><p>7/29/2019 Atheism vs Theism in Eragon</p><p> 1/3</p><p>ATHEISM vs. THEISM IN FANTASY</p><p>By</p><p>Karlton Douglas 2005</p><p>I have a number of concerns regarding what Christopher Paolini has done with hisfantasy book: Eldest. He has a lot of influence among young fantasy fans, and has earned quite a following with his first book (Eragon). To take that influenceand to use it to present atheism as a form of enlightened thinking in his secondfantasy book, Eldest, this is, in my opinion, a shame. It is a disservice to those who have been enthusiastic for this young writer, and who did not find atheistic ideology in his first novel. There is plenty of relativism born out of atheism in the world, without Mr. Paolini feeding the fires of such foolishness through his book. It is not, in my opinion, a safe philosophy for young minds to inge</p><p>st, especially as fantasy books, by their nature, require a willing suspension of disbelief, and are thus open to influences in ways they might not be otherwise.</p><p>If he is going to mimic J.R.R. Tolkien, why not copy the best that is found in J.R.R. Tolkiens, Lord Of The Rings? Mr. Tolkien's elves were the closest ones to the religion of Middle Earth. They came from the west, were immortal, and could go back to the west, and to Iluvatar (the deity of Middle Earth). Paolini turns that important religious concept of the Tolkien-model on its head.</p><p>I believe this about Paolinis blunder in the fantasy realm: I believe he has damaged his work. It is hard to maintain a mythology if you remove myth from the story--you kill the magic of fantasy when you remove its underlying mythic power. O</p><p>ur young Paolini has broken the spell of his fantasy. He has left the Tolkien-model, and it was the Tolkien model, above all, that drove his success in writing fantasy. He is no longer a fifteen-year-old wonder; he is a young man that must bejudged by the actual art he produces. Perhaps he will please those who want toremove every form of godliness from every aspect of our culture, but J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy was built of stronger stuff, strong imagery, and strong mythologywith deeply religious overtones. Paolini has mocked that by making the, arguably, highest race of beings in a Tolkien-type-world (elves) into a group of vegetarian atheists who think they are superior to all others.</p><p>In addition, an atheistic model of a Tolkien-type-world leaves only a relativismthat has no foundation for moral absolutes, no solid ground for a good vs. evilbattle. For who is truly evil, and who is truly good? It loses the quality that</p><p>J.R.R. Tolkien set forth, and leaves something unwholesome in its wake. In my opinion, it becomes something else altogether--a useless travesty.</p><p>Does it matter? That is a good question. Some will think that it doesnt. But forthose who understand the power of mythmaking and the importance of heroic stories and ethical tales of wonder--it does matter. Without getting deeply into the dangers of atheism, I will simply state again that without moral absolutes, and without a foundation that supports moral absolutes, all that we are left with isrelativism, without any foundation to determine moral choices. Stories can havegreat impact on young minds, for young people want to mimic what they admire. A</p></li><li><p>7/29/2019 Atheism vs Theism in Eragon</p><p> 2/3</p><p>godless hero, or race of heroes, in a fantasy story may seem of small relevanceto some, but to a young person forming larger beliefs and ideas, this can do damage to a newly forming belief system. Of course, if you are an atheist interested promoting your ideology, I am sure you disagree.</p><p>I thought that Christopher Paolinis first book, Eragon, was a flawed, but good effort for a very young, first time author. I expected more from him with his second book, yet, (SPOILER WARNING FOR ERAGON) through his second book, we now knowthat the mysterious voice who spoke to his main character at the very end of hisfirst book was that of a godless atheist, who was to become Eragon's mentor.</p><p>In my own view, Paolini has moved into the category of a Philip Pullman (authorof the fantasy series: His Dark Materials), another writer of fantasy who has involved unbelief, and anti-God agenda in his fantasy writing.</p><p>Read more about Pullman Here:</p><p></p><p>And here:</p><p>,12589,1368984,00.html</p><p>I can think of two other atheists who write fantasy, and have not, to the best of my knowledge, felt compelled to bring their atheism fully into their art, andthat would be Ursula K. Le Guin, and Susan Cooper. Though Susan Cooper did makea statement through one of her characters at the end of her Dark Is Rising series that seemed filled with hopelessness, she, nevertheless, made use of mythologyand wove her stories around Christmas and symbols that did not seem to reflecther unbelief. Le Guin did a decent job with Earthsea, and I cannot think of anything specifically atheistic in her characters or their worldview.</p><p>Dennis McKiernan has made a variety of gods a part of his Mithgar series. Thoughhe involves philosophy through some of his characters, I do not remember any instance where atheism is pushed to the forefront among them; actually, my understanding is that he is an agnostic who does not rule out the possibility of God.</p><p>In Terry Brooks' book about writing, it begins with him in church, holding his bible, and toward the end, he invokes God a couple of times. I would like to knowmore about his specific beliefs. I do not know of any instance where he promotes anything resembling atheism in his Shannara or other fantasy series.</p><p>The bottom line is that we need more fantasy authors willing to use the Christian model in their world-building, or at least willing to involve a Christian theme, and/or ethics within their stories. We base fantasy upon many of the solid things found in the real world, even as we weave fantastic stories. It is not hardfor me to envision fantasy stories with stronger Christian elements; after all,Christians gave modern fantasy stories their birth, from J.R.R. Tolkien, to C.SLewis, to George MacDonald. It is a shame that such a marvelous foundation is n</p><p>ow being tarnished by godless ideologies that are unworthy of the wonderful founders of modern Fantasy. And it is my belief that Atheism is anathema to the Tolkien-type fantasy story, yet, if my guess is correct, these atheist fantasies will be short-lived and never rise to the level of those founded upon a powerful mythology and Theism. I have no doubt that Theistic--in the broad use of the term--rather than Atheistic fantasy stories will carry the power of the Tolkien-typefantasy forward.</p><p>My hope is that Christians writers will seize upon the opportunity to further Christian truths through the gift of fantasy stories.</p></li><li><p>7/29/2019 Atheism vs Theism in Eragon</p><p> 3/3</p></li></ul>